Think Globally, Act Locally

By Joe Thomas, Donor Relations Coordinator, Trees Atlanta

If you walk through Deepdene Park off of Ponce de Leon Avenue, you will find a white oak that has stood since before the Revolutionary War. It is easy to miss, partially hidden in its place on the side of the forested trail. But this tree is special. It has withstood storms, war, and development. It has seen neighbors and passersby come and go. It has watched the area around it change, fellow trees cut down, trails and roads built, homes erected and demolished. Through all of that, it has reached upward, called by something higher. Continue reading

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Parks & The Pursuit of Happiness

by Michael Halicki, Park Pride’s Executive Director

flower“I’ve always felt that happiness is the point of life. We Americans are fortunate to have the right to the “pursuit of happiness” enshrined in our Constitution, and nowhere is that right more accessible to us than in our National Park System where we experience it mentally, physically and emotionally.” Continue reading

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Together Through the Storm

By Deron Davis, Executive Director at The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

When Hurricane Matthew hit the Georgia coast a month ago, Nature Conservancy staff based in the area hunkered down inland with friends from other organizations at Moody Forest, a 4,000-acre natural area near Baxley that we co-own and manage with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Moody sits on the Altamaha River, which traverses vast forests of pines, cabbage palms and live oaks draped with laced Spanish moss before giving way to expansive salt marshes as it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Continue reading

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Preserving our City in the Forest

When asked what people love about Atlanta, many say they love the trees. In spite of our city’s urban sprawl there are still pockets of intact, old-growth Piedmont forests throughout the region – our tree canopy coverage in the City is nearly 48% (2008). But unfortunately, in the current climate of rapid, high-density development, trees are often an afterthought. Some developers regard tree-saving measures as inconvenient and replanting requirements as a nuisance; rarely do the quality, quantity, and type of trees replanted match those trees lost to site clearance and construction. Developers pay recompense fees into the City’s tree fund for tree removal. As newcomers flock to Atlanta, we cannot afford to let this laissez-faire tree culture prevail, or we will certainly lose our most valuable natural asset and sacrifice our civic identity. It is not too late to prevent that from happening, but it will require us to pay attention, demand more creativity of the development community, and strive for excellence in our tree and zoning ordinances. Continue reading

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A Connected City for All

Rob headshot professional - 2014.07.28

Rob Brawner serves as the Executive Director of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership, the nonprofit organization that enables the Atlanta BeltLine project by raising private and philanthropic funds, engages the public through programming and outreach, and empowers the residents of the 45 Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods through targeted partnerships in the areas of health, housing and economic opportunity. Continue reading

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The Importance of Purposeful Wandering

By Michael Halicki, Executive Director of Park Pride

“No, I can’t say as I ever was lost, but once I was bewildered pretty bad for three days.” – Daniel Boone


 This month, Park Pride unveiled a new website. This website has been a long time in the making. In fact, going back to my first days at Park Pride, one of the first things on my “to do” list was an overhaul of the website. When we set down to it, I had hoped we could develop a new strategic plan and a new website at the same time. But, as we got into the throes of strategic planning, we found that there were substantive issues regarding our direction that made a website redesign premature. Before building a new website, we needed to clarify who we were as an organization and where we were going. During this time, we spent a fair amount of time gathering information and assessing different directions. We needed to find our way and we weren’t entirely sure where we were going. Continue reading

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Room on the Boat for Everyone

Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

Deron Davis (c) Alex Arnett

By Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

No photo, no video, no poem can ever do the Altamaha River justice. I can tell you that this southeast Georgia river that flows to the Atlantic Ocean is wide, that its water is the color of sweet tea, that ancient cypress trees stand guard at the river’s edge. But until you’ve seen it yourself from a boat, those details are just words. Continue reading

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The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum: Urban Inspiration

Last week almost 150 people attended Trees Atlanta’s first Atlanta Canopy Conference.  The key theme for this inaugural conference was the importance of preserving Atlanta’s canopy (currently calculated as 48% city-wide) and the importance of arboreta, especially as inspiration to urban dwellers about how they might support and improve the canopy in their own neighborhoods. Continue reading

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Connecting Atlanta Is The Atlanta Way

Keith Parker

Keith Parker

Keith T. Parker, AICP, is the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).

A recent article in the New York Times, “A Glorified Sidewalk, and the Path to Transform Atlanta,” brought a national perspective to the excitement generated by Atlanta’s BeltLine. The article stated, “It’s the most important rail-transit project that’s been proposed in the country, possibly in the world,” said Christopher B. Leinberger of the George Washington University School of Business, who follows urban redesign projects and has for years called Atlanta “the poster child of sprawl.” With a portion of the BeltLine now complete, the article captured Atlanta’s enthusiasm and civic pride in a city that is coming together both figuratively and literally. MARTA hopes to be able to make that connectivity happen faster than ever before. Continue reading

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Volunteer Service and the Benefits of Employee Engagement

John Ahern, Park Pride's Volunteer Manager, carries an erosion-control wattle.

John Ahern, Park Pride’s Volunteer Manager

By John Ahern, Park Pride’s Volunteer Manager

There are so many signs that fall is upon us. The football, the cooler weather, and even some leaves starting to drop from Atlanta’s excellent tree canopy. But for me, the most obvious signifier is hosting more and more volunteers in parks who are giving back to their communities.   Continue reading

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